The Integrity of a Mirror
Sometimes in our interactions throughout the day, something happens that we are unaware of. Our words and actions change the atmosphere. The tone and presentation of these words and actions determine how the atmosphere shifts. It is possible to offend someone and not realize you did it. Or you may do something that uplifts someone and never know the impact you made. It is important to be mindful of others in thought and deed.
If someone brings to your attention the negative feelings caused by something you've done, listen closely to what they say. It's natural to recount the interaction in your mind and analyze it. But take note; for all the analyzing you do, if you review the situation with a lack of empathy, you will never see the error or your ways. What does that mean? It means if the person felt the need to talk to you about the interaction, an offense has occurred. Most likely you had no malicious intent. You may even fail to understand how what you did was hurtful. Should that be the case, a sincere apology is in order for your actions. This allows the person to perceive your heart that you meant no harm and seek to make amends. However if you respond with no empathy whatsoever, expect the person to perceive a callous heart. When people are treated with a lack of empathy it creates a hostile environment for the interaction. To apologize to someone without taking responsibility for your part in the interaction is to throw salt on an open wound. Generally speaking, when a person seeks reconciliation it is because they value the acquaintance or relationship. This alone should serve as a reminder that words and actions can hurt or heal.
So be mindful in your interations with people. I know this takes a lot of effort sometimes but try. Treating people the way you want to be treated encourages growth in the relationship. If someone values your aquaintance enough to notify you of an offense, put yourself in their shoes and consider how it could have made you feel. Some personalities have a stronger sense of empathy than others but we are all in need of grace. If you cannot comprehend that you at some point may do or say something hurtful, chances are you stand in need of grace more than you know. How would you feel if you were never extended a courtesy or received forgiveness?
Grace is given to us by God so we can give it to each other. When you look in the mirror who do you see? What do you see? Do you see a person who makes mistakes? Do you see a perfect person? Do you see someone in need of grace or someone above it who doesn't care how people are treated? I'm not saying allow people to run over you. I am challenging you to recognize that extending grace to others creates an opportunity to shine your light and receive more blessings. Now go back to your mirror. Dictionary.com uses this example: By means of empathy, a great painting becomes a mirror of the self. Is you mirror honest? If it is, take steps to change what you don't like and appreciate the things you do. If your mirror is not honest with you, ask the Creator to clean it for you so you can become the loving person you are called to be. Grow in grace always.